Preps.com Western PA Pre Season Kings Have Been Crowned: Offensive Skill Positons
Posted August 22, 2013 12:19 pm
Photo Courtesy of www.nj.com
After hours of film study and gathering information on the regions top players, we finally feel comfortable enough to come out with our Western PA Pre Season Rankings. Typically in the past it’s been easy to identify the top kids in the area, but this year was quite difficult with only a few clear cut locks. With the likes of Tyler Boyd and Robert Foster graduating to the next level it’s now time for a new regime of players to be crowned Kings of Western PA.
QB- Lenny Williams
School- Sto Rox
A couple years ago we paid Sto Rox a visit to check out then junior Deaysean Rippy, who was being recruited by just about every school in the country at the time. After having a chat with legendary Sto Rox QB Adam Dimichele, he gave us the heads up on freshman Lenny Williams. Now a senior, Williams has put together one of the most impressive bodies of work in the WPIAL and looks to finally hoist that coveted WPIAL Championship trophy. Possessing one of the most impressive skill sets in the WPIAL, Lenny solidified himself as a Division 1 quarterback with his play in various college camps this summer. The misconception about the quarterback is that he’s just an athlete, but don’t kid yourself. The signal caller is as polished as any other quarterback in the state and we wouldn’t be surprised to see him become a contributor at the next level. With a cool demeanor and a rocket of an arm, the Mckees Rocks native has what it takes to follow in the footsteps of his mentor, Dimichele.
RB- Shai Mackenzie
After having a disappointing showing at the WPIAL championship game, many fans jumped off the Shai Mackenzie bandwagon. With a chip on his shoulder, Mackenzie hit the off-season running and attended some of the countries most elite camps and showed why he may have the best highlight tape in the country. We had the opportunity to watch Shai live at the Columbus NFTC hosted by Nike this summer and anyone who has negative words to say about his kid, clearly hasn’t seen him live. With ridiculous size, speed, strength, and focus, Mackenzie looks to add on his illustrious career and avenge the loss to the Quips and put the Prexies on his back. Holding offers from ACC schools like Florida State, Virginia Tech, and hometown Pitt, Mackenzie is a prize, that any program would be fortunate to land. Trying to build on one of the most dominant performances in WPIAL history, don’t be surprised if Mackenzie breaks some rushing records this fall.
RB- PJ Gilchrist Fumore
School- North Catholic
From the first day Gilchrist Fulmore hit the scene, he’s been making fascinating plays. Arguably the most explosive player in the state, PJ’s elusiveness separates him from the rest of the players on this list and makes him probably the most exciting player in the WPIAL. The second you turn on this kids highlight tape, you immediately see eye popping plays. With the ability to also play receiver and defensive back, don’t be surprised to see the playmaker start racking up major division 1 offers by mid season. Probably what sticks out the most about Fulmore however, isn’t his elusiveness, but his toughness, at only about 5’7 he endures a beating and always bounces back. If he continues at the pace he’s on, don’t be shocked if comparison to players like Ray Rice emerge.
WR- Troy Simons
After bouncing from Brashear, to Imani, and now RCA, Simons now has a home and can do what he does best. At 6’3 185, Troy Simons looks the part and when you get the opportunity to actually watch him, he certainly plays the part. Probably the only receiver in the region that resembles what we’ve seen in the past at the position, Simons possesses all the tools needed to become an elite pass catcher at the next level. He’s big, fast, sure handed, and much stronger than people give him credit for and with the right direction and focus, may be playing on Sundays. Not many people know much about the kid, but with us having been around all the top receivers in the region the past few years, we can assure you Simons can hold his own with the best in the country. With RCA’s interesting schedule, WPIAL fans won’t get the opportunity to see Simons’s highlights on the Fedko Zone, but don’t allow his lack of exposure to stop you from forgetting the most talented receiver in the region.
WR- Troy Apke
School- Mt. Lebanon
The Penn State recruit, committed early and didn’t really give many people the opportunity to watch him this summer, but with his production last year it would be ludicrous to leave him off this list. What separates Apke from other receivers in the area is just his raw speed, after watching him shred the Wolverines last year, his name really started to surface and rightfully so. Along with his impressive speed, Apke also shows excellent run after the catch ability and even runs the ball a little bit in Mt. Lebanon’s jet sweep package. Headed to Happy Valley with a small, but highly talented group, Apke looks to continue to develop as a receiver and join the Bill O’Brien offense in 2014 and add a new dimension to the tight end heavy offense.
WR- Jaquan Davidson
School- Elizabeth Forward
The EF senior hit the scene late, but don’t allow that to let you sleep on him. Athletically, the two sport star is second to none and watch his highlight tape if you don’t believe us. At around 6’4 Davidson is another guy that we can say could hold his own against previous WPIAL greats. Not only having the ability to play WR, but also assuming the responsibilities of QB and defensive back, Jaquan may be the most versatile player in the region. Currently West Virginia is atop his list, but if he continues perform at the level we’ve grown accustom to, he may add some bigger offers this fall that could complicate things for the Mountaineers. Although EF isn’t traditionally known for churning out elite prospects, try your hardest to go watch this kid play, because he’s easily one of the most talented athletes in the region.
TE- Clintell Gillaspie
Year – 2014
Not many people know much about this kid, but after watching him on various occasions against Clairton, we had to find a place for him on the list. With the success freshman FB/H-Back Jaymar Parrish is having at University of Pittsburgh this fall training camp, we advise all D1 coaches to take a long hard look at the Monessen senior this fall. At 6’2 225, Gillespie is extremely athletic for his size and shows the same position versatility that made Parrish so special last year. Blessed with the route running of a receiver, size of a full back, and elusiveness of a tailback, Gillespie is easily the most talented TE/H-Back in the region. If he’s not hurdling defenders, or “Mossing” someone in the end zone, you can find him in the trenches, where he’s no slouch either. Definitely an under the radar prospect, but if you get a chance to watch him play, he’ll prove he belongs amongst western pa’s elite.
ATH- Montae Nicholson
The highly touted recruit deserves all the attention he’s been receiving the past few years. Having the opportunity to watch him grow, we must say we’re thoroughly impressed in what he has become. Easily the best looking kid in the state, Nicholson has the size that gets you offered when you walk in the door. Added with impressive athleticism, the question isn’t can he play at the next level, it’s where will he play. Currently it’s rumored he wants to play safety at the next level, but some think he’s better suited on the offensive side of the ball. At around 6’3 200 plus and possessing the tools to play corner, we’re sure his future coach doesn’t mind the indecisiveness. After a off-season of turmoil, Montae looks to corral his Gators and try and lead them to a WPIAL championship with new head coach Don Militzer.
Other position groups released later this week and next week.